Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to save by using Avios for airberlin long-haul – Part 2

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This post is Part 2 of the article I started yesterday about using your Avios points to fly long-haul with airberlin. Part 1 can be found here.  Part 3 tomorrow will focus on how to book partner airline award on

Things to think about before booking airberlin …

As we saw yesterday when looking at the Avios and taxes required for an airberlin Avios ticket, some routes are a good deal and some are a bad deal compared with flying directly on BA from London.  The stand-out deal is probably Berlin to Abu Dhabi, which is just 50,000 Avios plus £48 taxes in Business Class, return.

Here are the key points to consider before you book on airberlin:

Avios and cash needed:  Some destinations, such as Abu Dhabi from Berlin, require fewer Avios than using BA for London – Abu Dhabi because it is a shorter flight and this puts it in a cheaper Avios pricing zone. Most airberlin routes need the same number of Avios as BA, eg 80,000 in business class to New York. Los Angeles, as an example, actually needs more Avios than BA.  All routes offer lower taxes, however.

Transit costs:  You obviously need to fly to Germany to start your trip, which adds to the cost. For a destination such as New York, this will mean you end up using more Avios than the equivalent BA flight (since getting to Berlin would be 9,000 Avios return) or spending cash on a connecting flight.

2-4-1:  You cannot use an American Express 2-4-1 voucher on airberlin redemptions. If you have one of these vouchers, it will almost certainly be a better deal to stick with a BA flight.

APD:  If you fly BA or airberlin from the UK to Germany to connect, and have both flights on the same ticket, you will be liable for long-haul business class Air Passenger Duty.  This is £134 or £166 or £188 per person for business class, depending on destination.  This wipes out a lot of the saving over flying directly on BA to your destination.

Re-routing:  However, if you travel to Germany on a separate ticket to avoid APD and are delayed, airberlin has no liability to you and can refuse to re-route you. You may need to build in an overnight stay in Germany to avoid any risk of misconnecting, which again adds to the cost.

Seat:  The airberlin business class seat is nowhere near as comfortable as the BA fully-flat Club World, especially for overnight flights. They also do not have lounges which are equivalent to those at Heathrow.

However, airberlin will soon be replacing the seats on its Abu Dhabi flights with those used by its partner Etihad.  These are fully lie-flat and would represent a real improvement.

At the end of the day, you need to consider the trade-off between the Avios needed, the taxes required, the extra cost and time required to take a connecting flight, the risk of misconnecting and the comfort of the airberlin business class seat. Oh, and seat availability of course!

And if you want to travel to Cuba, Curacao, Fort Myers, the Dominican Republic or Mombasa then it is a non-issue, because BA doesn’t fly to these places anyway!

Part 3 of this article tomorrow will focus on how to search for and book partner reward availability on

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (5)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Motellgamzol says:

    Would it work out cheaper to telaviv ?

    • Raffles says:

      airberlin flies to Tel Aviv from Dusseldorf, Munich, Cologne, Berlin and Vienna, it seems. Munich to Tel Aviv shows, in Economy, as 20,000 Avios plus £55. However, AB does not seem to offer Business Class on this route – it is only a 4hr 20min flight from Dusseldorf, even less from Munich.

  • flibbly says:

    The lower taxes make it look like redemptions for TATL Y seats are worthwhile. Assuming a reward saver from the UK to Germany (on a different PNR), what total cost (in Avios and cash) are we looking at to (say) New York?

    • Raffles says:

      Y to Germany from London is 9000 Avios return plus £30 with Reward Saver. Germany to US on airberlin in Economy would be 50 per cent of the Avios listed yesterday, plus a few pounds less in taxes.

      Aer Lingus also offers cheap US economy redemptions from Dublin with modest taxes, although you cannot search availability online easily.

  • Boddingtons says:

    That seat looks woeful, however, they have fitted some of the fleet with the old SWISS business seats so far.

    The plan was to refit the whole fleet with those seats and a couple with Etihads business class to ply the Abu Dhabi and Phuket routes. That idea is to be canned I believe and the whole fleet is getting the Etihad treatment.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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